Project description

The topic of this PhD is to investigate the role and impact of hydrogen related policies on the industrial and energy system. It is funded via the energy transition fund project BE-HyFe, supported by the FPS Economy. The project consists of a national training network, covering a wide range of modeling and technical topics in the field of hydrogen research.

Current long term optimization models, such as the TIMES energy system model, are often based on a techno-economic optimization analysis, which may not reflect all transition barriers and opportunities in a societally detailed way. Policy-oriented models typically are not able to take into account the wide energy system scope which is needed. This PhD topic aims to build a new model (possibly building further on agent-based modeling approaches) which is able to fill the void with respect to modelling policies on industrial hydrogen production and demand.
A first step consists of mapping policies and measures which relate to hydrogen and power-to-molecules technologies in general. A different range of policies is in scope: direct project subsidies, certificates of origin, contracts for difference, standards for admixture in the gas grid, product standards, derisking industrial symbiosis, … In parallel, an analysis is made of the most important industrial processes which are relevant for a future switch to carbon neutral technologies. The techno-economic data which are needed as an input to the model are collected. This includes technologies to produce hydrogen, such as electrolysis, steam methane reforming and pyrolysis. In a second step, the model will be designed to assess the available impact of the policies on the techno-economic decisions. The output will consist of potential cost curves and resulting emissions. Furthermore, it should be possible by combining the techno-economic and policy impact parameters to simulate agents (e.g. ammonia or methanol producers) in the industrial production systems. Finally, the model results will be compared to other energy model outcomes and the results will be continuously communicated via the hydrogen training network.

Job description

  • You prepare a doctoral thesis in the field of engineering and agent based-policy modeling. This PhD is part of the ETF Project Be - HyFe and will be carried out at EnergyVille - VITO, and the promotor of the thesis will be Erik Delarue of EnergyVille – KU Leuven. The main location of the research is EnergyVille Genk, where presence of three days a week will be required.
  • You publish scientific articles related to the research project of the assignment.
  • You contribute to outreach and research at VITO-EnergyVille under the framework of BeHyFe project.

We offer:

  • a doctoral scholarship for a period of two years, renewable for another two years after positive evaluation;
  • the start date of the PhD: as soon as possible;
  • VITO concludes an agreement with the doctoral student, who is given the status of VITO employee. VITO applies the social legislation required to apply to employees;
  • a dynamic and stimulating work environment.

How to apply?

  • Applications should be submitted online and should include a copy of your CV and a cover letter until the closing date of January 31.
  • The remainder of the selection procedure is specific to the position and will be determined by the selection panel.
  • For more information, please contact

You can apply for this PhD vacancy no later than January 31, 2022.

Meer info:…


  • You hold a master degree in engineering, science or equivalent.
  • You can submit outstanding academic results.
  • Your academic qualities comply with the requirements stipulated in the Universities policy.
  • You are quality-oriented, conscientious, creative and cooperative.
  • You have a profound knowledge of English.
  • Eligible candidates may be of any nationality and the host institutions are equal opportunity employers.